How to Replace a Water Heater Element: A Step-by-Step Guide
It is possible that a water heater element may need to be changed. It is not necessary to replace your water heater only because the heating element has stopped working; instead, you may repair or replace it. Although changing a water heater element may appear to be a challenging undertaking, the majority of homeowners are capable of doing this repair themselves. The likelihood that one or both of your water heater’s heating elements are malfunctioning is high if your water heater takes a long time to heat up, runs out of hot water, or fails to supply any hot water at all.
Replacing a Hot Water Heater Element
If your water heater is more than six years old, you may want to think about replacing it with a new one. Water heaters normally have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years, so if your heater is more than a decade old, you may anticipate it to begin having difficulties much sooner rather than later. As a bonus, because modern water heaters are more energy efficient than older models, you’ll save money on your monthly utility bills as well.
Checking Your Water Heater Heating Element
Before rushing in and replacing your water heater’s heating element, make sure that the element is, in fact, the source of the problem. Sometimes, after replacing the heating element, it is discovered that the problem was not with the heating element in the first place. This can be accomplished by first checking to see whether a circuit breaker has been tripped or if the power has been mistakenly turned off. If the breaker is in good working order, the next step is to examine the reset button on the temperature cutoff device.
It’s usually represented with a red button.
If you have access to a multimeter, you may verify the continuity of the element.
Using this brief video, you will be guided through the procedure step-by-step.
Preparing to Change Your Water Heater’s Heating Element
The heating elements are sometimes referred to as immersion heaters since they are completely submerged in the water of the tank during operation. Keep in mind that heating components are only utilized on electric water heaters, which is vital to know. Gas water heaters heat water in a completely different way than electric water heaters.
Heating Element Style
There are two distinct types of heating elements: infrared and radiant. Screw-in: This is the sort of heating element that we will be discussing because it is the most prevalent. They are commonly found on all modern water heaters, and the element is secured in place with a screwdriver. Installed as a bolt-in element: There are various distinct designs for bolt-in elements, and if you have an older water heater, it’s probable that this kind was used.
The element is held in place by four bolts that go through it. If you wish to convert a screw-in element into a bolt-in element, you may purchase a universal adapter kit to do so.
Heating Element Location
Electric water heaters are equipped with two heating components. There are two elements: an upper part that is hidden behind the upper access panel and a bottom element that is visible from the outside. Typically, the lowest piece is the one that has to be repaired or replaced. As the sediment in your tank builds up, it will eventually settle in the bottom of the tank, where your lower element is located. The silt encircles the element, reducing its ability to perform its function. Eventually, it will either entirely fail or utterly short out on you.
Today is the day to fix your plumbing emergency!
Purchasing New Heating Elements
Purchase new heating elements with the same voltage, wattage, and type (screw-in or bolt-in) as the heating element you are replacing if you want to keep your existing system running efficiently. The new element’s voltage should always be the same as the voltage of the old element. However, if you want to lengthen the life of the element, you might choose a lesser wattage. You should keep in mind that the element will also produce less heat. Never replace an element with a higher wattage than the one you replaced.
If you are unable to locate it, you can always conduct a simple web search using the model number of your water heater (found on the name plate).
Types of Water Heater Elements
There are three different kinds of water heater elements. It is possible that your water heater is reaching the end of its service life and that you will wish to replace it with the least costly high watt density element available. The other, more expensive solutions should be considered if your heater is modern and you reside in a region where hard water is prevalent. Consider each of the following in further detail:
High Watt Density Heating Element
When it comes to water heater elements, High Watt Density Elements are the most popular and may be utilized in any replacement scenario as long as the wattage and voltage are compatible. In the majority of situations, a high watt density element will be the same type of element that was originally installed in your water heater. The corrosion of high-wattage density components results in a reduced life cycle for the elements. You may anticipate that these elements will be the least expensive of the three types to be purchased.
Low Watt Density Heating Element
Those who live in places with hard water will benefit from low-wattage density components. Many are constructed with a fold-back design to provide more heating area. Despite the fact that they have a lower watt density, there is no reduction in efficiency. The lime scale build-up that is frequent in locations with hard water can be reduced as a result of this. You can use a low watt density element to replace a high watt density element as long as the wattage and voltage are the same as the original element.
Element with a Low Watt Density (DERNORD) The DERNORD Foldback heating element has a low watt density and is ideal for small spaces. It is offered in two power ratings: 4500 watts and 5500 watts.
Lime Life Element
A limited 5-year guarantee is provided on these high-end components. Lime life elements feature an ultra-low watt density and a high-quality nickel and stainless steel surface that prevents the accumulation of lime scale on the element’s surface. Because they are resistant to dry burning, these components are an ideal choice if you live in a region where water supply levels are inconsistent. Lime life components are often the most costly element; yet, once installed, they will frequently outlast the life of the water heater itself.
It is offered in three different power ratings: 4500 watts, 5500 watts, and 6500 watts.
A limited 5-year guarantee is included with these high-end components. Lime life elements feature an ultra-low watt density and a high-quality nickel and stainless steel surface that prevents the accumulation of lime scale on the element. Considering that they are resistant to dry burning, these components are an ideal choice if you reside in a location where you have inconsistent water supply levels. Lime life components are often the most costly element; nevertheless, once installed, they will often outlast the life of the water heater itself.
Available in three power levels: 4500 watts, 5500 watts, and 6500 watts, this unit is resistant to limescale buildup.
- The following items are required: garden hose, water heater element wrench, voltage tester, new heating element with “O” ring.
Replacing a Heating Element
Replacing the heating element in a water heater is a reasonably straightforward procedure. Keep in mind, though, that you will be working with both electricity and water, which are two things that should not be mixed in any way. If you are not comfortable with the situation, you should contact a certified plumber. Your first and foremost concern should always be safety.
How to Replace a Heating Element
Step 1: Turn off the electricity.
- Circuit breakers are located in the electrical panel and should be turned off. Check the voltage of the water heater to ensure that the electricity is no longer reaching the water heater. Due to the fact that you will be dealing with electricity and water, it is necessary that the water heater be switched off before beginning.
2nd step: connect the drain hose to the drain valve
- Connect a hose to the drain valve and turn the valve to the open position. It is NOT necessary at this time to drain the tank
- Rather, it is simply necessary to check to see that the drain valve is not blocked. If your tank is blocked, you’ll need to deal with it first
- Otherwise, move on. Please do not empty your tank at this time. See the next section for instructions on how to replace a heating element without emptying your tank.
Step 3: Shut off the water supply.
- Close the cold water inlet valve on the water heater, which is often placed above the water heater, to turn off the water supply to the water heater. Allowing air to enter the tank will relieve the pressure in the hot water system. To accomplish this, turn on a nearby faucet. Only the hot water tap should be opened, not the cold. Make certain that the tap is left open.
Step 4: Remove the Access Panel Cover from the Access Panel.
- Removing the Access Panel Cover is the fourth step.
Step 5: Disconnect the heating element from the circuit.
- To remove the heating element, use a heating element wrench. With a large mouth that fits over the exposed section of the element, it’s particularly intended for removing electric water heater elements from water heaters. Whilst the tank is still partially filled with water, loosen the element by rotating it in a counter-clockwise direction. The weight of the water will assist in keeping the tank in place. Drain the tank by opening the drain valve after you’re satisfied that you’ve been able to release the heating element. This might take anything from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your tank. Remove the element from the equation. A rubber gasket, often known as a “O” ring, will be used to seal the tank. Make certain to remove the “O” ring that came with the element.
Installing the New Heating Element is the sixth step.
- Clear away any dirt or debris from the threads and gasket region of the replacement element before installing it. Attach the new “O” ring to the new element using the new “O” ring. NEVER EVER EVER EVER use the old “O” ring
- To install the element, gently put it into the tank and tighten it with the element wrench. Attach the two wires to the element and secure them in place by tightening the screws that hold them in position. Ensure that the wires are tight and will not slip by checking them twice.
Clear away any dirt or debris from the threads and gasket region of the replacement element before installation. Then, using the new “O” ring, attach it to the newly created element. Use the old “O” ring only when absolutely necessary. Using the element wrench, gently put the element into the tank and tighten it down. Then, using the screws, attach the two wires to the element and tighten them into position. Ensure that the wires are secure and will not slip by inspecting them twice.
- Drain the water heater by closing the drain valve. Turn the water supply to the water heater on. At this time, do not switch on the electricity. If the tank is not completely filled with water before turning on the electricity, the heating components will be damaged. Ensure that the newly installed piece does not have any leaks. Turning off the cold water supply and tightening the element will stop any leaks from occurring. Removing the element and repositioning the “O” ring may be essential in some cases. It is normal for water to begin sputtering out of the open faucet tap as the tank fills (left open in Step 3). The water is forcing the air out of the line as it flows through it. As soon as there is a consistent flow of water, the faucet may be turned off. Replace the plastic thermostat cover, insulation, and access panel cover with new materials. You may turn the electricity back on to the water heater once the tank has been fully refilled by flicking the circuit breaker back on. The fact that there will almost certainly be air in the hot water pipes means that it is not unusual for the hot water taps throughout the home to splutter. Fortunately, this will subside in a short amount of time. Open each faucet individually, if desired, until you get a continuous stream of water
- However, this is not necessary.
Close the drain valve on the water heater. Start by turning on the water heater’s faucet. AT THIS TIME, DO NOT TURN ON YOUR POWER. Before turning on the electricity, make sure that the tank is completely filled with water to avoid damaging the heating components. Check for leaks in the freshly installed element. Turn off the cold water supply and retighten the element if there is a leak present. Removing the element and repositioning the “O” ring may be required in some cases. As the tank fills, the water from the open faucet tap will begin to splutter (left open in Step 3).
It’s OK to turn off the faucet after there’s a continuous flow of water.
You may turn the electricity back on to the water heater once the tank has been fully refilled by flicking the circuit breaker back on; The fact that there will almost certainly be air in the hot water pipes means that it is not uncommon for hot water taps throughout the home to splutter.
A brief length of time will pass until this is no longer an issue. Open each faucet individually if you wish, until you get a continuous stream of water; however, this is not necessary.
How to Replace a Heating Element Without Draining the Tank
Close the drain valve on the water heater; Water heater should be turned on. AT THIS TIME, DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER. If you don’t fill the tank with water before turning on the electricity, you’ll harm the heating components. Check for leaks in the freshly placed piece. Turn off the cold water supply and retighten the element if there is a leak. Removing the element and repositioning the “O” ring may be essential in some instances. As the tank fills, the water will begin to splutter out of the open faucet tap (left open in Step 3).
It’s possible to turn off the faucet after there’s a constant flow of water; Replace the thermostat cover, insulation, and access panel cover made of plastic; Once the tank is full of water, you may turn the water heater back on by flicking the circuit breaker back on.
Fortunately, this will pass in a short amount of time.
How To Replace A Water Heater Element
Please keep in mind that this content may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, we may gain a small profit on purchases made via our links. The procedures necessary for both flange and screw-in models are almost identical, however screw-in models are more frequent and will necessitate the use of a specific instrument known as a water heater element wrench.
Turn Off the Power
There may be affiliate links in this content, so please be aware of that. This means that, at no additional cost to you, we may gain a small fee on purchases made via our links and advertisements. Both flange and screw-in variants need the same set of procedures, although screw-in models are more popular and necessitate the use of a specific instrument known as a water heater element wrench in order to be installed correctly.
Drain the Tank
Close the cold water inlet valve, which is positioned on the tank’s top, and turn off the water supply. Connect a garden hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank and turn on the drain valve to allow the water to flow out. Even though you only need to drain the unit to a point below the heating element, it is a good idea to thoroughly cleanse the tank whenever you are performing maintenance. This aids in the reduction of sedimentary deposits in the tank as well as the extension of the life of all components.
Remove the Existing Element
Your water heater may be equipped with two elements: an upper element and a lower element. If this is the case, both components are changed using the same procedure. To begin, open the access panel and remove the plastic safety cover, if one is present, from the vehicle. Disconnect the wires from the element using a crimping tool. To save time, you may just disconnect the cables from both parts at the same time. An element tool, also known as a water heater element wrench, is a specifically designed socket that fits over the hex end of the element and has a hole in the other end that will receive the shaft of a screwdriver.
It may be tough to turn elements that have been in place for a lengthy period of time.
After the element has been unscrewed from the unit, it will simply lift out of the unit. You will need to loosen the four bolts that hold the flange element in place and pull the element straight out if your water heater has one.
Install the New Element
When changing a water heater element, be sure to replace the rubber gasket as well to avoid leaks in the future. Placing the gasket over the threads of a screwed-in element or around the base of a flanged element is recommended. Install the replacement element by reversing the procedure of removal and spinning the element in a clockwise direction while the gasket is still in place on the old element. Then use your water heater element wrench to tighten the component another 1/2 to 1 turn after it has been finger-tightened.
Refill the Tank
Drain the tank by closing the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Start by turning on the cold water intake on the tank’s top. Your water heater may make noises if you leave the hot water faucet turned on. This noise might be anything from a sputtering sound to a rattling sound as water is driven through the pipes. Allow the water to run until all of the air has been expelled from the pipes. Turn off the hot water faucet if it is still running.
Make sure to reconnect the wires to the new element(s), taking care to connect the proper wires to the same equivalent terminals as before to prevent shorting out the new element. Switch on the circuit breaker and have a look at the water heater. The plastic safety cover should be replaced, and the access panel should be closed if there is no evidence of leaking. Allow the water to heat for one hour, and then check to see that the unit is heating correctly and that there are no leaks in the system.
Watch the video below to learn how to replace the element in an electric water heater:
How to Remove & Replace a Water Heater Element – PlumbingSupply.com
With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll have no trouble installing your new water heater element. The team at PlumbingSupply.com® is glad to provide replacement elements and to give you with the following information to aid you with removing your old element and replacing it with your new one.
How To Install Your Screw-In Immersion Element
In addition to the following tools:phillips screwdriver, screws-in-element-wrenches, fresh elements, a garden hose, and an oscilloscope or circuit tester (to make sure power is off) Important! Make certain that you utilize the same wattage, voltage, and flange type as your prior element to prevent confusion. Step 1: Turn off the electricity to the water heater. Step 2: Turn off the cold water supply to the water heater and open the hot water faucet. Attach a hose to the drain valve on the water heater and open the drain valve to drain the water.
- Step 4: Remove the plastic terminal shield from the connector.
- Electric cables should be disconnected from the element in step 6.
- Step 8: Thoroughly clean the gasket region and threads.
- Step 10:Install the element and tighten it using a ratchet.
- After allowing all trapped air to escape from the open hot water faucet until water is flowing continuously, shut the open hot water faucet.
- Step 13: Examine the wiring.
- If corrosion is still evident, or if the wire is not long enough, see an electrician for advice on wire replacement and wire gauge choices.
- In Step 14, you’ll connect the electric cables to the element.
- Step 15: Replace the plastic terminal protector with a new one.
Replacing the insulation and access cover (Step 16). In order to avoid element damage, the tank must be completely filled with water and completely free of air before applying electric power. Turn on the electric power to the water heater in step 17.
How To Install Your Universal 4 Bolt Flange Type Immersion Element
In addition to the following tools:phillips screwdriver, screws-in-element-wrenches, fresh elements, a garden hose, and an oscilloscope or circuit tester (to make sure power is off) Important! As with the last element, be certain to utilize the same wattage, voltage, and flange type. Shut off the electric power to the water heater in step one of this procedure. Step 2: Turn off the cold water supply to the water heater and open the hot water faucet. Attach a hose to the drain valve on the water heater and turn on the drain valve to empty the water heater.
- Removal of the plastic terminal protector is the fourth step.
- Step 5: Electric cables should be disconnected from the element at this point in the procedure.
- Install the gasket on the element in Step 9.
- Drain valve should be closed, and cold water should be turned on.
- Stopping the cold water supply and tightening or relocating the element will stop any leaks from occurring.
- If there is rust on the wiring, cut and strip the wire 1/2″.
- If corrosion is still evident, or if the wire is not long enough, call an electrician for advice on wire replacement and wire gauge selection, among other things.
- The element is connected to the electrical cables in step 14.
- The plastic terminal protector should be replaced at this point.
- Before applying electric power, make sure the tank is completely full with water and free of air to avoid element damage.
Typical Electric Water Heater ConstructionWiring Diagram
Electric water heaters, in contrast to gas water heaters, which heat the water via the use of gas burners, heat the water through the use of a pair of upper and lower metal heating elements. The heating elements of a water heater operate in a manner similar to that of oven heating elements, in that they heat up when electrical current runs through them. Using a separate thermostat, each of the heating components may be regulated independently.
Before You Begin
Despite the fact that replacing a broken heating element on an electric water heater is not very difficult, it is categorized as an advanced job since it takes both mechanical competence and a thorough understanding of electrical wiring concerns. Specifically, it entails three main project stages:
- Putting the heating element through its paces
- Removing the old heating element A new heating element is being installed:
Because of the electrical expertise necessary for this job, it is recommended that an electrician complete this work. It’s possible that you’ll be dealing with high voltage, so if you’re not comfortable with electrical work, you should consult with an expert to reduce the danger of damage. Heating components are not especially expensive, therefore it is possible that you will wish to replace both of them even if only one of them has been found to be defective. If one heating element fails, it is conceivable that the other will fail shortly after, and replacing both heating elements at the same time can help to avoid a second repair in the near future.
Some manufacturers sell heating elements as part of repair kits that contain both the heating elements and the thermostats.
You will need to be familiar with the usage of a multimeter in order to test the heating element of an electric water heater.
Turn off the Power
- Turn off the power to the electric water heater at the main power panel by removing the fuse that controls the power to the water heater’s circuit or by turning off the circuit breaker that controls power to the water heater’s circuit. Wait for the water in the tank to calm down, which might take up to two hours or longer. Important because the heating elements are regulated by thermostats, and hot water in the tank will alter the electrical flow to the heating components, making this a critical consideration. Open a hot water faucet and let the water run to be sure it is cold before continuing.
Expose the Heating Element
- Remove the access cover panel and the insulation protecting the heating element terminal block from the heating element terminal block. When you fold the insulation outward and away from the heating element, it will be more effective. The screw terminals where the circuit wires are linked to the heating element will be exposed as a result of this. To check for power, use a non-contact circuit tester to probe the wires. Following your confirmation that the power has been turned off, unscrew the screws securing the wires to each of the two terminal screws and remove the circuit wires from the circuit.
Test the Heating Element
- To test the heating element, first set a multi-tester to the OHMs (continuity) setting, then connect the red lead to one screw terminal on the heating element and the black lead to the other screw terminal on the heating element, repeating the process. There is no electricity flowing through the heating element when the ohm reading on a digital multi-tester is zero, or when the needle on an analog dial is at infinity (does not move) when using an analog dial. This means that the heating element has failed and that it should be replaced immediately. If you are able to get an ohm resistance value with the multi-tester, this indicates that the heating element is not malfunctioning. It is possible that the problem is with the other heating element or with the thermostat for the upper or lower heating element.
How to Remove a Heating Element
If you want to check the heating element, then set the multi-tester to the OHMs (continuity) setting and then connect the red lead to one screw terminal on the heating element and the black lead to the other screw terminal. There is no electricity flowing through the heating element when the ohm reading on a digital multi-tester is zero, or when the needle on an analog display is at infinity (does not move). A defective heating element is indicated by this condition, and it must be replaced. Using the multi-tester, you may determine if the heating element does not have a problem with its resistance.
Turn off the Power and Water
- You should shut off the electric water heater at the main electrical panel, if you haven’t already done so. To do so, locate and switch off the circuit breaker or fuse that powers the heater (see above). Shut down the cold water supply line that supplies hot water to the water heater. An example of where you could find this shut-off valve is on the cold-water line that enters the water heater, right above the water heater.
Expose the Heating Element
- Assuming you haven’t already done so, remove the access cover panel as well as the insulation that covers the heating element terminal block. When you fold the insulation outward and away from the heating element, it will be less likely to catch on fire. Using a non-contact circuit tester, check to see that the power has been turned off. Remove the thermostat cover from the thermostat if it’s required to do so. Make certain that the connecting point that connects the thermostat to the heating element is disconnected. Disconnect the circuit wires by loosening the screws that hold the wires to each of the two terminal screws
- Then tighten the screws again.
Drain the Water Heater
- Take off the access cover panel and the insulation that covers the heating element terminal block, if you haven’t previously done so. In order to keep the insulation from getting too close to the heater element, fold it away from the heater element. Using a non-contact circuit tester, check to see that the power has been turned off. Remove the thermostat cover from the thermostat if it’s essential for safety reasons. Make certain that the attachment point that connects the thermostat to the heating element is not in the on or off position. Disconnect the circuit wires by loosening the screws that secure the wires to each of the two terminal screws.
Remove the Heating Element
- Remove the access cover panel and the insulation covering the heating element terminal block, if you haven’t previously done so. When you fold the insulation outward, it will be farther away from the heating element. Using a non-contact circuit tester, check to see that the power has been turned off. Remove the thermostat cover from the thermostat if it is necessary. Make sure that the attachment point that connects the thermostat to the heating element is disconnected. Disconnect the circuit wires by loosening the screws that hold the wires to each of the two terminal screws
How to Install a New Heating Element
The replacement heating element may be placed immediately after the old malfunctioning heating element has been checked and removed (see above).
- Check to be that the replacement element has the right voltage and wattage rating for your water heater before installing it. On the flange or terminal block of the heating element, or on the data plate of the water heater, you should be able to discover this information.
Insert the New Heating Element
- Using a cloth, wipe out the area around where the gasket attaches to the tank to remove any debris. Install the replacement gasket on the heating element and then put the entire assembly into the water heater’s tank of storage. Tighten a screw-in-type heating element by threading it into the tank opening with a socket wrench in a clockwise direction until it is securely fastened. Insert the four mounting screws into the flange-type heating elements and tighten them down firmly to secure them
Refill the Water Heater Tank
- Drain the water heater by closing the drain valve. Open the cold water inflow valve as well as the nearest hot water faucet at the same time. Allow three minutes for the hot water faucet to remain open after you have achieved a consistent flow of water. As a result, any surplus air and sediment will be removed from the lines. Examine the area surrounding the heating element for leaks.
Make Wire Connections
- Connect the black and white circuit wires to the heating element’s screw terminals by wrapping the wires around the terminals in a clockwise orientation. The wire that is connected to the screw terminal does not matter which one it is on. Adjust the wires to ensure that they are securely fastened once you have completely tightened the screws.
Reassemble the Cover Plate
- In order to properly reinstall the thermostat cover, you must first tuck the insulation back into its original location before reattaching it to the water heater tank.
Turn on Power and Test
- Switching on the water heater’s circuit breaker will bring the electricity to the unit on. Allow the water to warm up for many hours before checking the temperature of the water with a probe. If you need to make any modifications to the thermostat, do so.
DIY Water Heater Testing and Repair
Switching on the water heater’s circuit breaker will bring the electricity to the water heater on. Allowing the water to warm up for many hours before testing the temperature of the water is recommended. If you need to make any modifications to your thermostat, do so.
The majority of the time, replacing one or both of the heating elements will address the problem if your electric hot water heater is taking a long time to heat up, running out of hot water more quickly than it used to, or not delivering any hot water. Water heater repairs are simple, and replacement components are affordable ($8 to $20), and they are easily accessible at home centers, hardware shops, and appliance parts dealers across the country. How to test the heating elements, remove one if it’s defective, and replace it with a new one will be demonstrated.
If your heater is reaching its end of life, it may be more cost-effective to replace it than to repair it.
Other Causes of Water Not Getting Hot
Of course, there are a variety of additional factors that might contribute to a shortage of hot water. Before you begin testing the elements, double-check that the circuit breaker is not tripped and that it is in the on position. Press the reset button on the high-temperature cutoff, which is positioned slightly above the top thermostat, at the same time. Although resetting either the circuit breaker or the high-temperature cutoff may remedy the problem, the fact that they were tripped in the first place may suggest that there is an electrical fault with the system in the first place.
Assuming that the heating components are working properly, the thermostats or cutoff switch may be defective. Because they’re affordable (around $20 for both the thermostat and the cutoff switch), you could just replace them rather than go through the trouble of testing them.
Video: How to Test Your Water Heater Element
- Power should be turned off at the circuit breaker. Remove the metal covers from the thermostats and heating components to reveal them.
- Pro tip: Check that the power has been turned off by tapping the electrical connections with a noncontact voltage detector.
Test the Wires
- Please keep in mind that if the wires are covered by metal conduit, the tester will not read the voltage. Take off the metal thermostat cover that is mounted on the side of the water heater, peel out all of the insulation, and place the tester in close proximity to the wires that go up to the top of the high-temperature cutoff switch.
- It is important to note that if the wires are covered by metal conduit, the tester will not read the voltage present. The metal thermostat cover on the side of the water heater must be removed, the insulation must be pulled out, and the tester must be held near the wires that run into the top of the high-temperature cutoff switch.
- Note: If the tester does not light up, it is okay to proceed with the testing of the components.
What’s Inside a Water Heater and How It Works
The vast majority of domestic electric water heaters feature two heating elements: one near the top of the tank and another towards the bottom of the tank. After entering the top, power travels to the high-temperature cutoff switch, and then to the thermostats and elements on each side of the unit. The temperature of the top and bottom components is regulated by two different thermostats. When the water at the top of the tank becomes too hot, the top element goes off and the bottom element takes over to heat the water.
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Test Continuity for a Burned-Out Element
- Please keep in mind that you will need a continuity tester ($5 to $10) for this stage.
- A continuity tester (about $5 to $10) will be required for this procedure.
- Note: If the tester does not illuminate, the element should be replaced.
Test for a Short Circuit
- The alligator clip should be attached to one of the element screws. Touch the tester probe to the mounting bracket for the element
- Repeat the process on the other screw.
- It is important to note that if the tester light illuminates either time, there is a short. Replace the element with a new one
The Secret of the Red Button
Occasionally, both elements will pass the test, but you will still be unable to receive hot water. Try pressing the “high-temperature cutoff” button, which is situated right above the upper thermostat, to see if that helps. It may temporarily cure the problem, but if the problem recurs, the heating components should be checked. Step number five.
Remove the Bad Element
- Close the intake valve for cold water
- Start by turning on the hot water tap in the kitchen. Pour water into the tank by connecting a garden hose to the drain valve and opening it
- Note: A water heater element wrench (available for $5 at home centers and hardware stores) is required for thread-in–type elements such as those shown below.
- Remove the old heating element by unscrewing it using a heating element wrench.
- Pro tip: To spin the socket, you’ll need a long, robust Phillips screwdriver with a flat blade. To free the threads that have become stuck, use a cold chisel and a hammer to loosen the threads that have become stuck.
Install the New Element
- Insert the replacement element into the water heater and tighten it down with the heating element wrench if necessary. Reconnect the wires, checking to see that the connections are secure. Remove the insulation and metal covers and replace them.
Buying Heating Elements
Replace your heating element with one that has the same wattage as your existing one. For information on wattage if your old element isn’t labeled, look at the nameplate on the water heater, your instruction manual, or search online using the model number found on the nameplate. Heating elements are secured to the water heater with either a big thread and nut, as illustrated below, or with four bolts and nuts, as indicated in the diagram below. Most home centers carry the type we’ve shown, but if you’re replacing the four-bolt version, you may purchase an adaptor kit.
Low-density parts that are more costly are typically folded back.
Replacement of your old element with a low-density element will result in more efficient functioning and a longer service life.
How to Replace a Water Heater Element
If you have an electric water heater, you will need to replace the heating element on a regular basis to keep it operating properly. This is a project that even a complete newbie may complete if they spend the necessary time reading and learning how to repair a water heater element. Don’t forget that we have fantastic rates on all of our water heater components, no matter what sort of maintenance your system need. Bradford White is one of the respected brands that we sell. You’ll be astonished at how reasonably priced the components are.
How to Change a Hot Water Heater Element
- We propose you do a voltage test to check that there is no electricity flowing to the water heater after you have shut off the power supply at the breaker. Connect a hose to the drain valve – you may use a garden hose for this purpose. It should be connected to the drain valve located towards the bottom of the tank. Run the hose outside the home or into a floor drain to dispose of the waste. Turn on the drain valve
- We are merely doing this for the sake of testing to ensure that the drain is not obstructed by debris. Close the window once again. Don’t turn off the water heater just yet. Water supply should be turned off by shutting off the cold water supply valve. Open a hot water valve inside the house, then go to the kitchen or the bathroom and turn on a faucet to get some hot water there. You will not receive hot water
- Nevertheless, it will relieve pressure in the pipe. The cover for the access panel must be removed with a screwdriver, which is provided. There should be two panels, one for the upper element and the other for the lower portion of the composition. Remove any insulation that may be present and leave it aside for the time being. Remove the thermostat cover- you should now be able to view the thermostat cover. That should be removed as well. Take a minute to inspect the wiring and search for signs of damage. If there is any damage, it must be rectified. Make a connection between the element wires, which should be two of them. To loosen the heating element, you’ll need a special instrument for the job, which is fittingly termed theheating element wrench. Once the element has been released, the water weight in the tank is no longer required. Activate the drain valve and leave it open until no more water is dripping out Please be careful to remove the gasket (or O-ring) as well as the element when removing it completely. Install the replacement element- begin by connecting the fresh new gasket and pressing the element into position with the element still in place. After that, using your special wrench, tighten the element. Last but not least, reconnect the two wires to the element.
- Close the drain valve on the water heater tank and open the cold water supply valve to refill the tank. Keep an eye out for leaks as it fills. The gasket on your new element will most likely need to be repositioned if there is any leakage from the element. Turn off the faucet that you had left running—remember the faucet inside that you had cranked up to the maximum temperature? Whenever you notice a constant stream of water pouring out of the faucet, go ahead and close it. Finally, reinstall the thermostat and access panel covers to finish the job. Everything should be returned in its correct position at this point. Turn on the water heater only when the tank has been entirely filled (a heating element might be damaged if it is not totally submerged)
You should only be aware that when you turn on the hot water in the house, you will most likely hear air flaring out of the hot water line.
This is typical, and the faucets will only need to be turned on for a short period of time to clear the line.
Are Water Heater Elements Universal?
The answer is no, there are a few crucial traits that will require your consideration. You must ensure that the voltage and wattage are compatible (240v vs. 120v, for example). For the most part, you should maintain the voltage constant; nevertheless, you can add an element with less power, but not more power, as long as the voltage remains constant. This information may be found on the label on the back of your water heater. It’s important to note that some tanks have varying wattages for each element, so keep that in mind.
There are two different sorts of configurations: screw-in and bolt-in.
What Size Socket for a Water Heater Element
Changing out a water heater element requires the use of a massive 1-1/2-inch socket wrench, which must be both long and wide to do the job (5″).
Replacing a Water Heater Element without Draining
In terms of the likelihood of making a mess, it is quite dangerous for a newbie to take this technique. Also, draining your water heater every two years or so is beneficial to the longevity of the appliance, so why not take advantage of this opportunity to do so? However, if you want to try your hand at this ingenious solution, check out this coolChristopher Moore tutorial video first.
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When it comes to the likelihood of making a mess, this strategy is quite dangerous for the inexperienced. Draining your water heater every two years or so is also beneficial to the longevity of the appliance, so why not take advantage of this opportunity? Watch this coolChristopher Moore tutorial video if you want to try out this ingenious approach for yourself.
How to Change Water Heater Element
Vous êtes ici: Accueil/Habitat/Systems/How to Change a Water Heater Element | Step-by-Step Instructions A water heater element replacement is something that everyone who owns a house will have to learn how to do at some point. Why not right now? Just that will be demonstrated in this how-to tutorial for your convenience. It’s not as difficult as you would imagine! Disclaimer: REthority is financed by advertisements and participation in affiliate programs. When you click on one of our links, we may receive a commission.
- Before doing any DIY plumbing work, consult with a professional.
- To assist you in locating local plumbers in your region, we have teamed with Networx.
- Find a Plumber in your area.
- How to Replace the Element in a Water Heater Warm water, restricted hot water, or no hot water coming from your electric water heater are all indications that a heating element may need to be changed in your water heater.
- Every householder should be able to learn how to execute this task.
First, we’ll go through the functions of water heater elements and how to tell which of your components is malfunctioning. Afterwards, follow the steps outlined in the following section to replace the heating element in your water heater:
What Is a Water Heater Element?
Photograph courtesy of Afanasiev Andrii/Shutterstock The water heater element is in charge of heating the water in your water heater tank, and it is located inside the tank. Warming up the water is accomplished by completely immersing the electric components in it. Electric water heaters make use of two of these immersion heating elements to heat the water to the desired temperature for your needs. One can be found towards the top of the tank’s water level. The other one is at the bottom of the list.
Lower Heater Element
TrotzOlga/Shutterstock The bottom heater element is in charge of the majority of the labor involved in heating up the water contained within the tank. As fresh, cold water is introduced into the tank, it is dispensed through a tube that directs the water straight to the bottom. The lower heater element works extremely hard to get the cooler water at the bottom of the tank up to the proper temperature while also preventing it from dropping down too rapidly. Furthermore, because it is located at the bottom of the tank, it is susceptible to being covered by the typical silt that settles to the bottom of the water heater.
In most cases, the bottom element of your water heater will be the one that fails if you believe that one of its elements has failed.
Upper Heater Element
The higher heater element does not exert as much effort as the lower heater element does. This is due to the fact that it is placed at the top of the tank, where it can “boost” the temperature of the already-heated water just before it leaves the tank and exits through the tap you are now using. As opposed to raising the temperature of 40 or 50 degree water all the way to the temperature specified on your water heater thermostat, its purpose is to guarantee that the water remains at 120, 130, or 140 degrees before it exits the storage tank.
Screw-In Water Heater Elements
There are two sorts of heater elements that will be used in your lower and higher heater elements. Screw-in water heater elements are by far the most prevalent type of water heater element. It’s almost guaranteed that if your water heater was built less than 15 years ago, you’ll have heater elements similar to the ones seen above. Screw-in heater elements, as the name implies, are installed on your water heater by screwing them in place.
Bolt-In Water Heater Elements
The second (and considerably less frequent) form of water heater element is a bolt-in water heater element. The most common place to find them is on older water heaters. It will be obvious if you look closely that bolt-in components are held in place by four bolts. With the help of an adapter kit, it is simple to convert bolt-in components to screw-in elements.
Buying a Replacement Water Heater Element
The first step in replacing your water heater element is to ensure that you have the proper replacement. Bringing your old water heater element to a plumbing supply business can ensure that you acquire the right sort of replacement water heater element. Selecting a new water heater element of the same type (screw-in or bolt-in) and voltage as the original will be necessary. You have the option of selecting a lower wattage than your present element.
However, you should be warned that it will not heat water as efficiently. The voltage and wattage of the element should be stamped immediately on it. Once you’ve obtained a replacement part, you may proceed to the next step in the process: replacing it.
How to Change a Water Heater Element
First and first, safety must be prioritized. When replacing a water heater element, the most important consideration should be safety. A mix of water and electricity is used to power electric water heaters, which is a potentially harmful or even lethal combination. If you want to reduce your risk, make sure you follow the recommendations below carefully and in the exact order. If you are frightened with the prospect of completing this project on your own, you may always hire a trained plumber to assist you.
- The following items are required: garden hose, screwdriver, water heater element wrench, voltage tester, replacement heater element, O ring.
Prepare all of your materials before you start. A water heater element wrench may be purchased at a hardware shop or on the internet through sites such as Google Shopping. It’s possible that they’ll be referred to as element tools. Remove and replace your heating element with ease if you use these tools to make the process easier.
1. Turn the Power Off
Locate the switch on your circuit breaker that is connected to your water heater and turn it off. To turn off the light, turn the switch to the Off position. Then, using your voltage tester, confirm that the power has been turned off.
- Navigate to the circuit breaker panel and locate the switch that is connected to your water heater. The switch should be turned to the “Off” setting.”. Use your voltage tester to confirm that the power has been turned off after that.
2. Check the Drain Valve
Locate the switch on your circuit breaker that is connected to your water heater. To turn off the light, turn the switch to the off position. Then, using your voltage tester, verify that the power has been turned off.
3. Turn off the Water Supply
You’ll need to switch off the water supply that’s linked to your water heater at this point. Close the cold water inlet valve, which is situated at the top of the water heater. Replace the water heater cap. Allow an assistant to switch on the hot water faucet at a nearby faucet and leave it turned on while you work. As a result, a portion of the hot water pressure in the tank is released.
4. Access the Water Heater Element
Remove the access panel lid for the heating element that has to be replaced using a screwdriver and set it aside. The higher access panel allows you to see the upper heater element, while the lower access panel allows you to see the bottom heating element. In between the access panel lid and the thermostat, there may be some insulation to be seen. You can gather this information and put it away for the time being. Remove the plastic cover that has been placed over the thermostat. Before proceeding, do one final check with your voltage tester to confirm that it reads 0 volts.
5. Loosen the Bad Water Heater Element
Photograph courtesy of Afanasiev Andrii/Shutterstock Using your element wrench, loosen the defective water heater element by turning it in a counter-clockwise manner. The broad end of the hose should be placed over the exposed area of the heating element. If it’s proving tough to loosen, you may use the short end of your screwdriver to provide more leverage to the process.
6. Drain or Partially Drain the Tank
You can drain or partially drain the tank while keeping your garden hose in place (make sure the opposite end is pointed outdoors or into a large bucket). This should be done at least once each year, and we recommend that you completely drain the tank every year.
This ensures that your water heater is maintained to its maximum potential. To remove the water from the tank, open the drain valve on the side of the tank. This might take up to an hour for a water heater of ordinary capacity to completely drain the tank.
7. Remove the Bad Water Heater Element
Kuchina/Shutterstock The water heater element that you wish to replace should be disconnected from the water heater after the tank has been emptied. Find the rubber O ring that seals the connection between the element and the tank to ensure that there is no water leakage. Pulling it out will cause it to come off with the element it is attached to.
8. Change the Water Heater Element
Prepare your new water heater element and O ring in advance of the event. In order to secure your screw-in heating element, you must first place the O ring over the threads. Insert the new element into the opening at this point. Afterwards, rotate it in a counterclockwise manner. If necessary, use your water heater element wrench to tighten it completely and ensure that it will not leak when the tank is refilled.
9. Refill the Tank
Put together your new water heater element and O ring in advance of the installation. In order to secure your screw-in heater element, you must first place the O ring over the threads of the heater element. In order to complete the opening, insert the new element into it. then spin it in a clockwise manner to complete the process Completely tighten it with your water heater element wrench to ensure that it will not leak after the tank is refilled.
10. Reconnect Wires and Turn Water Heater Power On
After you have completely refilled the tank, you may reconnect the heating element wires that you had previously detached from the old element to the new element. Make certain that the wires are connected to the correct terminals. Return the circuit breaker switch to the “On” position by pressing it once more. This will give you the opportunity to inspect the water heater and ensure that it is operational and free of leaks. Replace the insulation and access cover, then put the panel back into place using the screws provided.
- The heater element may have been the source of the problem, which resulted in tepid, restricted, or no hot water.
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Having Trouble Changing a Water Heater Element?
Steklo/Shutterstock When it comes to changing a water heater element, it is not a tough task, but you may encounter some tricky issues along the road. If this occurs, immediately stop what you’re doing and get expert assistance. Some of the concerns for which we would recommend consulting with a specialist are as follows:
- After flicking the circuit breaker switch off, the voltage readout is anything but zero. It is difficult to locate the correct replacement element for the water heater because of leaks. Drain valve that is clogged
- Unable to get the old water heater element to come loose
- The problem is not resolved by replacing the water heater element.
In order to verify that the relevant part is changed correctly, a professional will check and test your water heater. If you encounter any issues when attempting to replace a water heater element on your own, do not risk making the situation worse. For assistance, contact a local plumber.
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